By Abubakar Alkali
For a country to prosper and get in tune with global trends, it has to embrace generational change and allow the younger ones who are ‘current’ take over to enable them bring new ideas and new energy into governance. Political leaders in Africa always want to cling on to power and be part of the action instead of serving their due and giving way to the younger ones. Recycling of leaders stagnates development and perpetually keeps the country in the past instead of shaping it for the future. A case of movement without motion. It was absolutely right for our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari to have contested and won the Presidential election in 2015 despite his age because he wasn’t seeking for a lower office than the one he held before. The main doctrine of generational change in politics is that one must not seek for an office lower than the one he/she held before but can seek for a higher office. The significance of this doctrine is that as one moves up in politics, he leaves the lower office for the upcoming generation. Of course at some point, it is expected that one should retire and leave the political stage for the younger ones. If there is no generational change in politics, how could the younger generation grow and prepare themselves for the imminent task of taking over power at some point?
It is in the spirit of generational change that it is necessary to enact a law banning all former governors from contesting for the senate so as to give the younger ones a chance. The almost unending U-turn of our governors to the senate (The GovSen group) after completing their 2 terms of 8 years in office is giving politics in this country a bad name. This scenario is making politics in the country look like a commercial enterprises rather than a means to serve. Otherwise, how could one explain a situation whereby a former governor who is unarguably the ‘Oga’ of the 3 senators representing his state and who summons these 3 senators to ‘come and see him’ in his house at will, now stoop so low to contest and go to the senate where he has to raise his hands before he is allowed to speak? Often times he is not even given the chance to speak. Apart from the commercial angle to it, it is also alleged that the former governors also run to the senate after their tenures so as to enjoy immunity and escape the long hands of the EFCC. That is not going according to plan as Governor/Senators (GovSen) such as Senators Akpabio have lately ended up in the hands of the EFCC to answer charges of corruption.
Nigerians are desperately yearning for generational change and are absolutely tired of hearing same names every day. Everyday, on the political landscape, it either, Ibrahim Babangida OR Olusegun Obasanjo, Abdulsalami Abubakar OR Atiku Abubakar, Tony Anenih OR Audu Ogbeh, David Mark OR Bola Tinubu, Tanko Yakasai OR Godswill Akpabio etc etc. The question is ‘When will there be generational change in Nigeria? What Nigerians want now is a new set of young, dynamic and vibrant set of leaders between 35 – 50 years old who will take over from President Muhammadu Buhari and sustain his legacy to build a new Nigeria that all of us will be proud of. Nigerian are looking forward to having a 45 – 50 year old young Nigerian being President after President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023. As it stands out, Nigerians have placed all their hopes on our respected President Muhammadu Buhari to lay the foundation towards generational change in Nigeria by co-opting youths into his government as ministers and heads of government parastatals to prepare them for higher offices.
For our dear country to achieve generational change in politics, there is the need to reform our political system to suit our ground peculiarities. As it is today, the constitution and the political system are generally tilted for the rich and the few against the poor and the majority. Nigeria needs a new constitution which will inculcate the required fundamental changes that are necessary to ensure a fair distribution of resources. We need to drastically reduce the size of government and invest the savings from this reduction into the communities to alleviate poverty and build infrastructure. We need social security in the constitution to give life to every Nigeria whether he/she is able to find a job or not and whether he/she can afford to work or not. It just doesn’t make sense for Nigeria to spend 90% of its national budget on recurrent expenditure and a paltry 10% on capital projects. What then is the essence of government when all that is done in government is to pay the salaries and allowances of government officials and their families? It just doesn’t make sense when the government spends more than N1 Billion annually to maintain a senator and a representative while leaving his constituents to sleep with empty stomach?
There is the urgent need to change the appropriation formula of the national budget to 70% capital expenditure and 30% recurrent expenditure to free funds to fight poverty and build infrastructure. Each state has a governor, 3 senators, about 15-20 members of the house of representatives, more than 30 members of state house of assembly, more than 30 commissioners, more than 500 special advisers (Some states have more than 1000 special advisers to the governor), more than 30 local government chairmen depending on the number of local governments, thousand of councillors, millions of hobnobbers and political hangers-on, 36 ministers, their families and domestic staff, each minister has his own special advisers, etc etc etc. With this size of government, where will Nigeria get the funds to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people?. The size of government is simply too big for our country. What Nigeria needs today is a UNICAMERAL legislature with only 2 representatives per state. A minister must win an election in his/her state before qualifying to be a minister of the federal republic. All these changes should be included in the new constitution which will herald a new political system for Nigeria known as AFROCRACY because the current Presidential system Nigeria operates is too expensive for us.
Alkali can be reached via email: email@example.com